Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Three Long Days

We are finished with our three long days of appointments at CTCA.  We're glad all that's over so we can get back to a more relaxing schedule.

Day 1 included the CT Scan.

Day 2 was the day I was most anxious about because we met with Rudy's lead doctor, Dr. Thompson.  I wrote a short post on Facebook about that yesterday while we were in the infusion room getting two bags of platelets.  Here's what I wrote in case you missed it -

Here's a fast update on today's appointments. The cancer has grown. That was not really a big surprise. We are stopping chemo and getting on immunotherapy. Nivolumab Is an immunotherapy drug that was just FDA approved 10 days ago. It has shown good results and CTCA is very familiar with it from participating in the trials.
Rudy will finish up radiation, work to get his platelets built up and start immunotherapy in early April. That's exactly what we were hoping for so that was our first smile. With immunotherapy, almost all supplements were taken off the list. Only two remain. That was our second smile. Rudy is so tired of pills.When activity was discussed, Anya, the naturopath, made it perfectly clear that if he felt like cutting grass, he certainly could. He can do most anything he feels like doing. That was our third smile.
Rudy's platelets are low so he's getting a transfusion. That should help his energy a little. As for the hack attacks and mucus, there's not a lot to be done, but pineapple and papaya both contain an enzyme that helps. Seltzer water or sparkling water can also help. We can also add the sparkling water to the Ensure drinks he likes best. That should make them a little less syrupy.

We didn't get home last night til after 9pm.  We were wiped out.  Even so, I was relieved.  Dr. Thompson is wonderful.  I can't figure it out exactly, but she has a calming presence when she enters the room and you just feel cared for.

Today, we headed back out for a full day, but nothing as long as yesterday.  We met with 3 doctors today.

The first was Dr. Hyde, a radiologist.  The most interesting thing from that appointment was the news that radiation helps immunotherapy.  The radiation makes it easier for your immune system to target the cancer cells.

The next meeting was with the pulmonary doctor, Dr Parks.  He showed us Rudy's lung scan and explained it bit by bit.  He also gave Rudy an inhaler that will work on the mucus issue.  He's taken his first dose and so far is liking the change.

The third doctor was Dr. Boomsaad, the pain management doctor.  He told Rudy how to wean off the pain meds when he's ready.   We hope he can do that soon.  The doctor thought Rudy might want to wait til after radiation was over, but he's leaving it up to Rudy.  And of course, if he starts weaning off and finds he still needs it, he can just go back to 3x a day.    It's the lowest dose possible, but it's still pretty mood altering.  It definitely eliminates the pain, but at times, it makes Rudy agitated, irritable, and unable unwilling to censor his displeasure.  Thankfully, it's not all the time.  He's been happy as can be for the last couple of hours.  Earlier today, especially while talking to the pain department nurse, he "demonstrated" exactly how easily he could become agitated.  It wasn't all that bad, but when she writes her notes on that meeting, I'm sure exclamation marks will be included.  :-D   Warning: If you happen to call while he's still on that medication, don't take it personally if he acts up.

I've been wearing my hat like this alot.
Things can change on a dime, so I'm reluctant to say this, but...  tonight he seems to be feeling good.  He's very tired - he didn't sleep much at all last night, but still he's perky and relaxed and improved.  Must be those platelets he got yesterday!